Both the English and the Irish have left their mark across all of Australia’s major equestrian events such as The Everest, the Melbourne Cup, and the Cox Plate to name a few. Unfortunately, Aussies cannot say the same about their own success in England and Ireland.
How Many Australian Jockeys Have Managed to Win Top Jockey at the Cheltenham?
Every year, the jockey with the highest number of wins under his/her belt is awarded the prestigious tile of Top Jockey at the end of the Cheltenham Festival. In recorded history, no Australian jockey has ever managed to win even a single Top Jockey title at the Cheltenham Festival yet.
Irish Dominance at the Cheltenham?
Aside from occasional English names like Nico de Boinville (2019) and Robert Thorton (2007), Irish jockeys have absolutely dominated the Cheltenham Racecourse almost every year. Consider the fact that the legendary Ruby Walsh has won the Cheltenham Top Jockey Title 11 times in total!
Walsh was the Top Jockey for four years in a row from 2008-2011, creating a new all-time record. His record was broken by Walsh himself when the master Irish jockey won the Top Jockey title five times in a row from 2013-2017.
Irish jockey Rachael Blackmore became the first female jockey to have ever won the Grand National and the Cheltenham Top Jockey award in 2021. In short, the answer is yes, Irish jockeys absolutely dominate the Cheltenham.
How Many Australian Trainers Have Become Leading Trainer at the Cheltenham?
Just like the jockey with the highest number of wins to their name is awarded Top Jockey every year at the end of the Cheltenham Festival, Leading Trainer is a similar title for horse trainers participating in the festival. Although it’s not a requirement, each trainer usually puts multiple horses in the race, all coming in from their training camp or branded stable. Unfortunately, no Australian trainers have ever won the title of leading trainer yet. No Aussie trainer has even managed to score single win at the prestigious Cheltenham Racecourse so far either.
Ciaron Maher’s Dream
In 2016, Ciaron Maher expressed his hopes and plans of becoming the first Australian trainer to beat the British and the Irish at their own game. Unfortunately, that did not happen, and his dreams were trampled as none of his horses managed to win even a single race. In case you do not care as much about Aussies beating the Brits and the Irish at the Cheltenham festival 2022 as you do about winning your own bets, pick your horses carefully and make the best out of your Cheltenham free bet offers.
Do Irish Trainers Also Dominate the Cheltenham Festival?
In the past, Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls asserted their dominance by winning Lead Trainer several times. They kept the British trainers in competition at the Cheltenham until 2012. That seems to have changed for the foreseeable future though, as no British trainer has managed to become the Leading Trainer at Cheltenham form over nine years now. The legendary Irish trainer Willie Mullins has almost monopolised the Cheltenham Leading Trainer Title for himself by winning seven times already. The only other trainer to win it twice (2017 and 2018) in these nine years is Gordon Elliott and he too is an Irish trainer.
Why Do Aussies Never Win at the Cheltenham Festival?
In their defence, it should be mentioned that there is a good reason why Aussies don’t win races at Cheltenham. Australia has mostly abandoned jump racing to prevent horses from getting injured, or worse. Given that the Cheltenham is a National Hunt event exclusively dedicated to fence and hurdle races, major Australian jockeys, trainers, and owners do not participate at Cheltenham to begin with.
As none of the favourite thoroughbreds, jockeys, or trainers to win any race last year were Australian, sadly, it doesn’t look like things are going to change in 2022 either. If anything, the Brits might just try to make a comeback by winning at least one of the two prestigious titles that have eluded them for quite some time now.